Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Ecclesiastes 12,9-14

Besides being a sage, Qoheleth taught the people what he himself knew, having weighed, studied and emended many proverbs.

Qoheleth took pains to write in an attractive style and by it to convey truths.

The sayings of a sage are like goads, like pegs positioned by shepherds: the same shepherd finds a use for both.

Furthermore, my child, you must realise that writing books involves endless hard work, and that much study wearies the body.

To sum up the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for that is the duty of everyone.

For God will call all our deeds to judgement, all that is hidden, be it good or bad.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

A disciple closes the booklet with a brief portrait of Qohelet. He remembers him as a "wise" man who knew how to convey wisdom even to the common people. He went about in the town squares, at the city gates, along the byways; his classroom was the public places. He spread to all the wisdom he had learned from the law. He knew how to condense his teachings in mnemonic formulas so that the people could carry them along in their lives. "He listened" and "inquired," the disciple notes. He had been a true "teacher" who had sought to convince his hearers by finding the most adequate means for his words to reach minds and hearts. This disciple compares Qohelet’s teaching to the "goad" with which the peasant prods animals to work; and he compares the collection of the wisdom maxims to nails well-placed, firm points of reference and direction. He adds then that these words "were given by one shepherd." He perhaps wants to imply that behind all wisdom sayings is God himself, source of all wisdom and Israel’s sole shepherd. This is how Qohelet becomes God’s messenger. All his authority comes from the fact that he teaches that wisdom, which comes from God, and that God himself has entrusted him with it as a treasure to be examined and taught. A second redactor has added the last three verses. He turns to the reader calling him "my child," and warns him against getting scattered with too much reading. It is an exhortation to not easily neglect the reading of Qohelet. And, in a way, he gives the reason with a general synthesis of the master’s teaching: "Fear God and keep his commandments, for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (vv. 12-14). The redactor wants to sum up Qohelet’s entire doctrine in these two pillars: the "fear-respect of God" and the "keeping of his commandments." On this path, he adds, we become "humans," that is, we face existence robustly, knowing that the Lord sees and scrutinizes everything, trusting, however, not in our strength, but only in the firmness of God.